Time, Talents, and Treasures

STEP UP TO STEWARDSHIP

Does God really want us to “give till it hurts”? Is this Biblical teaching? We actually have the American Red Cross to thank for that phrase. “Give Till It Hurts” appeared on several World War I posters and was linked to the concept of sacrifice—on the battlefront and at home. Ever since then, it has become an often -used—and overused—catchphrase for many situations.

So what does it mean for a Christian to give until it hurts? Mr. Example earns a six -digit salary annually. He consistently puts $20 in the offering plate every Sunday and $50 on Christmas and Easter. Does that hurt him? Miss Illustration has her budget in place each month and follows it commendably. The last item in her budget is her church offering, which flutters up and down like a wounded bird depending on how much she has left over after her own needs and wants are met. Is this a sacrifice?

To follow Christ, we must be willing to sacrifice whatever He asks of us—our possessions (Mark 10:21, Luke 12:33, Matthew 19:21) or ourselves (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23, Luke 14:27.) If it doesn’t hurt, it isn’t a sacrifice. The crucial word in the above is “willing.” Christians make willing sacrifices. We are not forced into sacrifice; we gladly sacrifice for Jesus who willingly sacrificed Himself for us. Happy are those who fear God, who cherish and relish His commandments; they are quick to be generous (Psalm 112:9.)

John Wesley put it so much more simply: “Gain all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.” Enthusiastically, eagerly, cheerfully, lovingly.